Wednesday 17 October 2012

Coming Attractions | Blood Oranges by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Caitlin R. Kiernan has ever been awfully forthright about the publishing process, and brutally honest about the act of writing too. So going into her masterful last novel - that's The Drowning Girl: A Memoir for those of you who missed it - we knew in advance that it marked the end of an era.

Sad, but true. And some might say overdue.

Anyway, as in the tarot - not to speak of The Smashing Pumpkins' back catalogue - the end is the beginning. The beginning, in Kiernan's case, of a series of three all-out urban fantasies published under an open pseudonym. 

You must be wondering: why the half handle, when Kiernan's own name is so critically (if not commercially) credited? Well, here's her explanation:
"I do not hate this novel. It's this novel's sequel, Fay Grimmer, that's giving me fits. [...] But this book, Blood Oranges – though it's nothing even remotely like The Red Tree or The Drowning Girl: A Memoir, it's fun. Mostly, it was fun to write. It's a popcorn book. It's funny. It's a satire with an undercurrent of bitter disillusionment. It's candy bars with razor blades hidden inside them. It gives the middle finger to 'paranormal romance' and its corruption of urban fantasy. So, yeah."
This description puts me in mind of nothing so much as The Mall and The Ward. The work, you will recall, of another invented personage: the great S. L. Grey.

Here's the cover, in any event:


Then again, given what Kiernan's trying to do with this book - namely break into the mass market for urban fantasy - it fits, I think.

And Amazon has a blurb to boot!
My name’s Quinn.
If you buy into my reputation, I’m the most notorious demon hunter in New England. But rumors of my badassery have been slightly exaggerated. Instead of having kung-fu skills and a closet full of medieval weapons, I’m an ex-junkie with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or... whatever.

Wanted for crimes against inhumanity I (mostly) didn’t commit, I was nearly a midnight snack for a werewolf until I was “saved” by a vampire calling itself the Bride of Quiet. Already cursed by a werewolf bite, the vamp took a pint out of me too.

So now... now, well, you wouldn’t think it could get worse, but you’d be dead wrong.
A moreish premise, no? Here Kiernan appears to be baking all the genre's essential ingredients in a single tray. What the resulting concoction will taste of is anyone's guess - my money's on something bittersweet, like treacle - but typically this author's work is deeply, darkly delicious.

So I have hope.

There's no UK publisher in place to date - nor would I expect there to be one, unless Jo Fletcher jumps in (on you go, Jo!) - but Blood Oranges is coming out in North America from Roc next February 5th.

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